And actually it’s not Lucy’s story, it’s mine.
It happened when we were working so hard to figure out her delays right before we got the official diagnosis of her syndrome when Lucy was two-years-old. It happened on the evening when the world was swirling around me in slow motion because I had just seen Lucy’s beautiful blue eyes look right through Max who was trying to get her to point to his nose. And I knew without a doubt, right there and then, that what we had been reading on the internet about this syndrome fit her like a glove.
Yes, I told that part and all the underlying details back HERE. The part where Dave came in our bedroom one early morning ashen-faced after checking on her, claiming she couldn’t see him. And the part where a couple weeks later I saw the same thing. I explained how my heart had tried to push away all the evidence this was a possibility. I told Dave he was imagining things, I consoled myself that Lucy was just stubborn, or tired, and that she just had some developmental delays. I had myself half-talked into the whole theory that it would all be ok. That the sun would come up. That really, Dave and I were just worriers to a fault.
But that night when Max was holding her and my world started sinking and we were leaving my in-law’s house in the dim light that made Lucy’s eyes as black as night, I didn’t tell the part of the story that has affected so many of my thoughts since then. I didn’t tell about how we had another car we had left somewhere and had to pick up on the way back to our house. I told Dave I needed to be the one to drive that other car home. All by myself.
He was unaware of what I had seen and the flood of tears I was holding onto with all my might. I was drowning. I couldn’t breathe. The world was black. The drive seemed long and I’m sure he knew something was wrong but it was all a blur to me as I climbed into that other car as a whole human being ready to crumble into a million pieces.
But as I sat there, alone in that car, instead of indescribable sorrow and grief and torrential tears I had been waiting to release, I felt the most strong sense of love I have ever felt. It crept over me like a blanket. It was as if I was being carried and comforted in a way I had never felt before. And I knew that love was coming from Heaven. I couldn’t cry. The tears were gone. The darkness parted and love from above spread over me like watercolor spreading over a wet canvas and I felt power that wasn’t my own.
I was filled with HOPE. And that hope swallowed up the sorrow.
After all these years that moment by myself in that car has carried me over and over again. Things haven’t been fixed, and not everything is ok.
But I know where to find peace:
From that same source that infused it into me in that empty parking lot way back then.
From that same source that not only carried me back then, but carries me now. Through the big and little things. From pleading for help with a struggling child, to finding a tiny strand of patience in the midst of wading through laundry and messes and slamming doors and sometimes even a mud-covered dog traipsing through the house right when I need to be somewhere else. I have been carried through lost opportunities, through teenager heart-ache, through frustrating misunderstandings with Dave, through soul-searching insecurities.
I share this story because I know there are many people who deal with trials and trouble. In fact, we all do, right? We all have worries and sorrow. Blackness inching into the light. And I want to share that there is still hope.
There will always be HOPE.
Because the Prince of Peace paid for it all. He’s been through our lowest lows, our deepest trials, and with an incomprehensible price, He’s made himself ready to carry us. And help us find peace even in the torrential downpours of life.
His hand is always and forever stretched out.
If we will only just trust that He’s there.
With Easter on the horizon I have been pondering how to share this hope in a deeper way with my children and also how to live it more deliberately myself. I love that mormon.org has published a new video about this that I think was just released today. Check it out HERE. I love that it says all this:
…and it says it all so very beautifully.
Find stories of how so many people have found peace through hope, repentance, compassion, the scriptures, faith, gratitude, forgiveness and prayer over HERE under where the video is. And share your own stories of finding peace HERE or in the comments to this post. I think we all gather so much strength from hearing how others find peace. I’m excited to use these ideas for Family Home Evening ideas leading up to Easter.
How I hope that we will all remember where to look in times of sorrow and blackness, and that we will find strength and joy from above.
Because “His Hand is stretched out still,” no matter what storms come our way. And I hope I can teach my children to recognize the Carrier of all hope, just as I did all those years ago sitting in that car as dusk settled in.
And so many times since.
Thank you for sharing this, my one day old baby boy passed away from SIDS three weeks ago and I need to remember there is HOPE in the midst of my darkest night.
I am so sorry. Sending lots of love and prayers your way.
I'm so very sorry for your loss.
Thank you, Shawni, for sharing this special experience.
Oh dear Unknown, I an very sorry for you! I hope you get the "blanket" Shawni mentions soon enough!
Oh my thoughts and prayers are with you
Much love sweet Mama. Heaven sees and hears your tears.
Dear Unknown, although I haven't written here, I have been thinking about you with an aching heart. I'm so sorry, and extra grateful there is hope even in the toughest times that hit us in life. Sending love your way.
^ so sad for this sweet mama.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of hope. I had chills and powerful confirmation as I read it. There is always hope.
Your words could have been mine. I experienced the same feelings of vanished torrents after the death of our baby. Being lifted with Power beyond my own. Well spoken Shawni. Thanks.
Sweet mama above, you are not alone! Hugs, hugs, hugs.
Wow, that is a great video. Thanks for sharing it. Happy Easter to you and your family. Thanks for letting us all be a part of your life and learn from your wisdom and experiences.
Oh Shawn! This is beautiful and TRUE. That experience you had cannot be denied and from what other source could it come?! He is real. Hi power is real. We experience it and it's so far beyond ourselves. I experienced it as I read this. I love you. I love Him!
You are a gift and I love you so! Thank you for this and for all you do and are. So needed.
This post about hope reminded me of the song "Here Is Hope" from the Lamb of God soundtrack by Rob Gardner. Absolutely beautiful. We have been able to watch it in Colorado the past few years and there is nothing like listening to the Colorado Mormon Chorale and Orchestra. You can listen to 8 minutes of this performance from last year (at 4:37 is where Mother Mary starts singing "Here Is Hope"). http://www.lambofgodco.org/performances-1/ It's just a snippet of this amazing show. You can also watch the whole song here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X9C1Vg9DYQ, just as beautiful but the song in full!
Beautiful truths. Thank you!
When my aunt was on her mission to France years ago, her mission president called her and let her know that her father unexpectantly passed away. He said she had the option of going home or staying, it was up to her. But as soon as he told her all this, she felt this incredible "blanket" wrapped around her, and for the next three days she felt it completely cover her. She said she didn't cry at all those first three days, she just felt this incredible comfort like she's never felt since. It was amazing. Then after 3 days it lifted, but she was so incredibly grateful for that wonderful gift. She was able to stay on her mission and stay focused despite everything.
What a wonderful idea to share stories of comfort and Christ. Thanks for your example! I get the best parenting ideas from you!
Thank you for sharing! I have had a few experiences like this and even one recently. Reading this brought it to my mind and helped me make more sense of it. It is like a hug from God….a reassurance that although everything can feel so WRONG in that moment, you are in the right place and God is aware and wide awake! Much love!